Dad Slammed for Filming Daughter's 'Traumatizing' Trip Through Car Wash

car wash toddlerThere comes a point in everyone's life in which they find going through the car wash cool. But until that point, the car wash is flat-out terrifying. It's a lightless, noisy machine of a room where giant floppy, sudsy monsters try to get into your car so they can swallow you whole. Horrifying.

Most kids are freaked out the first time they go through the ol' car wash, despite the fact that mom or dad go with them, and one dad, Max Gibbons, happened to catch his adorable daughter's reaction on film.

No, she didn't like it. Yes, there were tears. And yes, her parents put it on YouTube.

Check it out:


Kind of adorable, kind of ... sad? When it comes to videos like these -- videos in which a child is sad, scared, upset, drugged up -- we're a nation divided on whether it's cute and funny, or cruel and exploitative. A lot of the comments on this video are from people who find the video sweet. But, because this is the Internet, there are some of the other variety, as well.

One commentor wrote:

Why would anyone find this acceptable, the fact that this is recorded and placed on youtube reflects the mind set of the parent, who clearly knew what suffering this would cause. Is this not just cruel or are viewers happy to see a child suffer like this?

While another said:

This is not cute, she is absolutely petrified, her body is clearly shaking with fear.

And yet another remarked:

This is sick....The child is utterly terrified of the car wash and you stupid STUPID people put her in the car and RECORD her terror...what the hell is wrong with you...

I reached out to Gibbons to see what he thought of the backlash, and here's what he had to say:

As a new parent, you realize pretty quickly that everyone seems to have an opinion about the “proper” way to raise a child. Combined with the anonymity the Internet provides, I was expecting plenty of negative feedback. You just filter the crap out — smile and nod like you would if someone commented on your parenting in a line at the grocery store. It seems like those who actually know us personally absolutely adore the video.

Despite the fact that you can't win doing anything with your kids when you put it on the Internet (seriously, film your child eating a lollipop and some yahoo will threaten to call CPS on you), is this a little, well, not nice?

I don't doubt for a second that this little girl's mother and father are good parents and kind people, but I probably wouldn't film my daughter in a situation where she's scared. (Partially because it's not my style; partially because I'm a wuss). It's a different school of thought, and no, I'm by no means saying that I'm a better parent (maybe you are? maybe your kid will grow up to be tough while mine will be scared of everything?). But for me, personally, I wouldn't do it. And it's more about the filming than putting it up on YouTube. Something would just feel off to me about holding a camera in my daughter's face when she was afraid -- especially if there was no one there to comfort her, as Gibbons' wife was while he was filming. (There are plenty of videos out there like that.)

I would never write a nasty comment about this sweet little girl's parents on a blog or on YouTube, just because, as I said, this isn't something I would do. Because someone's parenting style isn't the same as mine, I'm fully aware it doesn't make them a bad parent. We're much more nuanced than that, and moreover, I think we all need to be more accepting of each other's styles (yes, including myself). Because what does make us crappy parents and bad examples for our kids is harshly judging someone every time they disagree with you.

What do you think of parents filming their crying kids and putting it on YouTube?


Image via Max Gibbons/YouTube

Read More >